How Does Cassius Die

How did Cassius die in Julius Caesar?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act V, Cassius, Brutus, Antony, and Octavius meet on the plains of Philippi. Their encounter ends up in an argument which confirms the imminent battle between the two factions. Brutus and Cassius separate in order to take charge of their individual armies and to face those of Antony and Octavius.  Brutus asks Messala to begin the attack on Octavius’s army, who seemed unsettled.

Brutus’s troops emerged victorious against Octavius’s army. Cassius, on the other hand, is surrounded and sends Titinius to confirm the people in the tents.  Cassius is led to believe that his friend Titinius has been captured by the enemy.

He offers his slave Pindarus his freedom and in exchange requests the slave to kill him using the same sword he used to assassinate Caesar. Pindarus unwillingly does as instructed and drives the sword through Cassius, killing him. However, Cassius’s actions are not well informed because Titinius met Brutus’s troops and not the enemies’. After Cassius’s death, Brutus is left to battle alone.

Cassius dies by his own sword when he requests Pindarus to kill him.

Come hither, sirrah.
In Parthia did I take thee prisoner,
And then I swore thee, saving of thy life,
That whatsoever I did bid thee do,(40)
Thou shouldst attempt it. Come now, keep thine oath;
Now be a freeman, and with this good sword,
That ran through Caesar's bowels, search this bosom.
Stand not to answer: here, take thou the hilts;
And when my face is cover'd, as 'tis now,(45)
Guide thou the sword.

kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act V, Scene III of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Cassius is observing the defeat of his army at the hands of Marc Antony's soldiers.  Standing with him is Pindarus, his slave and trusted messenger.  Unable to accept life following such a humiliating defeat as he is enduring, and bereft over his role in the assassination of Julius Caesar, Cassius concludes that his only option is death. He orders Pindarus to kill him with his sword.  Shakespeare's play depicts the scene as follows:

Now be a freeman: and with this good sword,
That ran through Caesar's bowels, search this bosom.
Stand not to answer: here, take thou the hilts;
And, when my face is cover'd, as 'tis now,
Guide thou the sword.

PINDARUS stabs him

Caesar, thou art revenged,
Even with the sword that kill'd thee.

Cassius has been among the most disreputable of those who conspired against Caesar, and views the military defeat of his army by that of Antony as a form of vengeance the dead Roman leader has now succeeded in extracting.  His death by the sword he used to participate in Caesar's assassination represents such divine justice.

Further Reading:
dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After being given incorrect information about the status of his friend Titinius in battle, Cassius asks his servant Pindarus to help him commit suicide.  Pindarus, bound by oath to obey his master, runs Cassius's own sword through his master's heart.

Cassius, who earlier was the instigator in the plot against Caesar, consents against his better judgement to defer to Brutus's plan to have the Roman Army attack their enemy at Philippi.  Cassius had thought that it would be better to remain at Sardis and let the enemy come to them, but as he does several times in the course of the play, he gives in to Brutus's direction.  In the heat of battle, Cassius sends his friend Titinius to approach nearby troops to determine if they "are friend or enemy" (Scene V, Act ii, line 18).  Pindaurus later mistakenly reports that Titinius has been captured by the enemy.  Cassius, distraught, says,

"O coward that I am, to live so long to see my best friend ta'en before my face!" (Scene V, Act iii, lines 34-35).

It is then that he asks his servant to help him kill himself.

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Julius Caesar

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